If I were a cynic - and some days, I am - I would look on a particular occurrence during the Kelsey family New Year's Eve celebration as a metaphor for the year that was 2009.
Jamie and I celebrated quietly at home this New Year's Eve. Part of that celebration included a stop by a local liquor store for a bottle of champagne (not the cheapest brand they carried, but the second-cheapest). In the minutes before midnight, we popped the cork and poured a couple glasses.
After the foam died down, we noticed a few floating bits in each glass. We assumed it was pieces of cork. So we fished them out and continued to pour.
Then, from the bottle and into Jamie's glass flowed a very large and very dead housefly.
The cynic in me says 2009 was a pretty damn fly-in-the-champagne year. In January, Jamie and I were both laid off on the same day, and we've each struggled to find work ever since. In part, we're victims of a dreadful economy which has torpedoed the local job market. Our bank accounts are low, and our debt is creeping higher all the time. To add insult to injury, Jamie's car was broken into a few days ago, and the crooks went on a trashy little shopping spree with our credit card (K-Mart, Walgreens, Smokes 4 Less and, to top it all off, lunch at McDonalds).
But the optimist in me sees 2009 a little bit differently. Jamie, for one, used 2009 to move one year closer to the completion of her education, and it looks like she'll be finished with her teaching degree in 2011 - which, now, seems right around the corner.
And I've been able to grow as a writer. For one, I started this blog with my friend John Lofflin (and we'll be celebrating our one-year anniversary later this month!). I've also completed some rewarding freelance writing assignments and, over the course of three very difficult and taxing months, I wrote a book. Hopefully, 2010 will be the year I sell that book. And now I have a dayjob, albeit a temporary one, which has raised our hopes and our financial prospects significantly.
But the best thing about 2009? Because of our joblessness, Jamie and I have been able to spend more time together than we ever have in our six-year marriage. And we've had a blast.
So last night we dumped the fly-tainted champagne down the sink, and we toasted the new year with a couple ice-cold bottles of Woodchuck Draft Cider. And we had a damn fine New Year's Eve.
I can't imagine champagne tasting any sweeter.